Team Wilpers Bike Fitting – My Experience

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably heard me talking about how my Peloton, which I love so much, has been giving me some problems this year. I got my bike on May 27, 2020 & took my first ride that same day, without cleats because I ordered the wrong size, oops.

I, then spent the summer & fall crushing it on the bike, going after PRs, hitting milestones that were huge to me like 10 miles in a 30 min ride, 5 miles in 15 minutes, etc. 2020 was a good year on the bike. Then it’s almost as if a switch flipped in 2021 and I was working hard, but not seeing results.

I was pushing myself but yet I didn’t feel like I was getting any power on the bike, like I could only get high cadence sitting straight up moving my arms like I was running. And my body was feeling it too, shin splint type pain, which I haven’t had since I was in high school & I’ve worked really hard to stay away from as a runner. My left knee which had been bothering me off and on seemed to hurt more too when I would bike. I was frustrated and demoralized. The bike I loved was hurting & depressing me.

So I tried moving my settings, I watched the FaceBook bike fitting video that Christine has on her page, I moved my seat up, then down, back then forward. I changed my cleats, all the way forward, all the way back and nothing really worked 100%.

A few friends mentioned getting a bike fitting. I was hoping to wait to go visit the Peloton Store, but waiting until vaccination day was a long way off. And while they are great in the store, I’m sure, are they experienced bike fitters? I’m thinking probably not so when multiple friends mentioned Team Wilpers, I finally got online and started doing some research. One thing I noticed was that every review I read was overwhelmingly positive. I have yet to see a review that had anything negative in it.

So after a day of waffling, I decided to pull the trigger. The website was super easy to navigate, I clicked the button to schedule a fitting. I picked any available fitter and then was able to pick a day & time that fit with my schedule. The fitter bios are listed on the reservation page so if you know that you want a specific person, male/female, the same fitter as a friend, you can pick that person but I didn’t know any of them and was more concerned with being able to pick a time that worked for me seeing as it appeared that the majority of the fitters were on the east coast & I’m obviously on the west. So I picked my day & time, paid my $149 fee and then waited until it was time to have my fitting.

The Team Wilpers team was super good about sending reminder messages, especially since you can cancel & get a refund as long as you do so outside 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. They sent at least 2-3 emails the week of my appointment.

From what I’ve read, it was recommended to have a space where the fitter could see you on the floor & of course on your bike so I spent a little time getting camera angles correct and then set up a mat & had my allen wrench for the cleats ready too. I took photos of my original settings as well so I knew where I was starting.

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My appointment was with Anthony Costa, who has been bike fitting since 2014. He was super nice & was cool when my zoom sound wouldn’t work & I had to switch over to my phone.

My appointment started out with a quick overview of what my issues on the bike were & then a short assessment off the bike. Anthony had me lay down, do a few stability exercises like side plank with a leg lift, glute bridge, leg lifts. We did a few other exercises standing up, like a one leg squat. He explained that the fittings are specific to each of us, because we are all different. This isn’t a cookie cutter fitting. The process however was the same as I had previously read.

After that I moved my camera to show the bike and we started working on the cleats. One thing that he mentioned was that the Peloton bike is super narrow so the positioning of the cleats can really make a difference. So all that time when I was moving my cleats up and down, I actually should have been moving them from side to side. We determined where my cleats should be, I tightened them up and then hopped on the bike. First thing I noticed was that my knees felt like they were tracking normally & I didn’t notice the pain in the inner side of knee like I normally do. I did notice a discomfort in the front of the knee though like under the patella and I mentioned that, which resulted in moving the bike seat height up just a tinsy bit.

My seat was actually not too far off what it should be, I only had to do 2 small adjustments to it. We made the seat a little higher than what I had previously and then pushed the seat back one notch.

Then he watched me ride some more and asked about my grip on the handle bars. I normally start off nice & light and then by the end of rides I’m handing on for dear life with super tight shoulders up by my ears LOL. So we moved the handle bars down 2 notches, then another notch & then another. During that time, Anthony was telling me that he could tell that my shoulders were physically dropping.

Throughout the entire process, he explained why we were making the changes and what the purpose of them was, which I found really cool.

But I still had a little bit of knee pain so??? Well with everything we did, Anthony mentioned that it was possible to have a little residual pain so I chalked it up to that and we said good-bye.

The next day I got an email with all the details of our appointment along with a few tips/tricks. He had told me during the appointment that it could take a few rides to really feel the difference and if I still was having pain a week or so later to send him a message and we could discuss further.

So it’s been a week and how do I feel?

First ride post fitting felt Amazing! It was an exciting ride too because it was my 400th ride. My shoulders were down, my core was activated. I was on a high so I rode really well.

I did a bunch of rides on Sunday, I decided to start the find your power zones program so after a low impact ride, I did the first 2 PZ classes & a cool down. I could feel minor twinges in my right shin, but it wasn’t anything too bad. The knee wasn’t really a problem.

On Tuesday, I did the FTP warm up & a 20 min FTP test, as I did the test, the pain in my shin got worse & worse. I felt minor twinges in my knee but nothing major. The shin pain last into Wednesday.

Today, I did the next 30 min ride in the series & was almost in tears by the end with sharp pain on the outside of both knees that got worse as the ride went on. I can still feel minor shin pain 30 mins later as I write this. So I’ve reached out to Anthony to get some tips on how I should tweak things so that I can ride pain free, which is ultimately my goal.

I want to have power & be faster/stronger but pain free is more important. So that being said I have to think that since the majority of people have nothing but positive things to say about their fittings that I’m a random case.

Which is not surprising as I do tend to get the weird issues that no one else has.

Do I think that getting fitted it worth it? It is expensive but I definitely learned a lot, I think that if I had a normal body (not the overly flexible one that I have that can compensate by using the wrong muscles) that the results would have made a huge difference.

I think I personally need to make more tweaks to get to the right spot which may or may not be where strong, powerful & pain-free cycling align. So time will tell. I’ll update this post when I have heard back & made additional tweaks.

5/21: UPDATE 1: I spoke with Anthony and he suggested that I do the following things.  First I redid my cleats.  I removed all the screws, set them where we determined they should go and tightened them up.  He mentioned that maybe they weren’t as tight as they should be and got moved when I un-clipped. Second,  I raised my seat by 2 clicks.  I did the next ride in the Discover Your Power Zones program, it was a 20 min recovery ride.  I didn’t feel the knee pain today but can still feel the shin on and off the  bike. I’ll give it another week at these settings and then update this post again.

Update 2: I should have updated a while ago, but I forgot.  It took me about 4-5 weeks to settle into my new settings.  When I mentioned this to Anthony he mentioned that it can take him a few extra weeks to settle in as well.  For now, I feel like I’m doing better on the bike, not back to 2020 speeds yet but I have been dealing with a lot of stress this year and that is definitely playing a role in how I’m riding the bike these days.

April 2021 Check-In

Well here we are again!  How is it already MAY!?!

March ended with me in a weird place yet again so we started the month out with a short trip up the coast to Marina del Rey & spent some time on the beach & trails in Malibu.   I splurged and used some of my Marriott points and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton, our first hotel stay outside 2 nights in October when we stayed in hotels on our Moab roadtrip.  It was a nice getaway and I was pleasantly surprised to see that people in this area were serious about staying safe.  95% of the people we encountered wore masks, even when walking by themselves, coming out of their homes, etc.

We got takeout from some yummy vegan restaurants & donuts from one of my fav places Blue Star on the way home.

Oatmilk lattes from the Hive.  Drunk Cauliflower & Saint Louis No 2 Vegan Shrimp Poboys from Variable Cafe – we had a small issue with delivery and our order was delivered about an hour after we ordered.  The cauliflower was amazing but the poboy was quite soggy because it had been sitting for a while.  I’m sure it’s amazing when it’s hot & fresh.

Breakfast was from Marigold Cafe, we both got the breakfast sammy which  had scrambled just egg, mushrooms, green onion, vegan cheese, vegan mayo, vegan bacon & everything seasoning.  It was super yum!

When I checked in at the hotel, the front desk agent recommended a place called The Butcher’s Daughter for dinner so we tried that out.  Funny name for a vegetarian/vegan restaurant but we had an amazing burger!

We got the Impossible burgers & they were topped with red-wine caramelized onions, arugula, fig mustard,  harissa mayo & on a vegan brioche bun. The Rosemary potato wedges left something to be desired but that could have been due to the take out aspect.

Anyways, I always get caught up with food LOL but let’s get to what I did this month.

Running: Well running & I are still not 100% seeing eye to eye.  I had a few really good runs.  Like the 7 miles we did by the water in Marina del Rey at the beginning of the month & the 8 mile run the Sunday after I got my first vaccine shot, but the rest of the month?  Hit or miss due to knee pain, shin pain & just overall lack of motivation.  I also don’t love our old treadmill, the new one had a problem and we were waiting on a replacement so we were using the older one that’s super loud.  I ended the month with maybe 55 miles?

Peloton: Due to the knee pain I was feeling, I took a 10 day break from the bike to see if that was an issue.  I ended up with around a 100 miles for the month, way down from the past few months but 10 days off will do that.

Overall, I’ve determined that if I do a little glute activation, it’s better but I still think I need to get a professional fitting because it’s still not perfect. A few people have mentioned Team Wilpers (PZ Instructor Matt Wilper’s coaching group) as a place to go for that & I might try and schedule an appointment to do so in May.

Strength Training: This is the only piece of my exercise routine that I have been 100% consistent with.  I’ve been working with Nicole @heartndsolerunning since March & I feel like this has really been helping me to get stronger.

Knee: I have been dealing with a knee issue for  while now, there’s been a sharp pain by the top bone on the inside of my left knee and after sitting &/or tough climbs the back of my knee feels really stiff & tight.  So after dealing with this off and on for a little over a year, I finally went to get it looked at.  X-rays showed that my bones were perfect & I had plenty of cartilage between my bones.  But an MRI showed that there were some microtears in the cartilage and that the stiffness in the back of the knee was actually swelling from the front of the knee that’s being pushed back.  Official diagnosis Chondromalacia aka Runners Knee.  So I’ll start a few weeks of PT in mid May and once I figure out my real areas of weakness, I’ll be able to incorporate more exercises into  my strength workouts to help correct those imbalances & hopefully get rid of this pain before I start training for actual races.

I said this year was going to be all about recovery & I’ve been serious about doing more about recovery so I’ll just keep that going as the year progresses!

We got our first vaccine shots!! That made me soooo happy – we’ll get our second Pfizer shots in early May and be fully vaccinated by the end of the month!  Which is good because we have a lot of fun outdoor activities planned for this summer!!

Campaigns: This month was shock full of fun campaigns that I got to work on.

I worked with iwi to share an awesome vegan omega 3 product.  I tried out and gave away $100 of Thorlos’s socks to a lucky IG follower. I tried and shared No Cow Protein Powder (my verdict as someone who doesn’t really enjoy protein powder? the bars are better).  I did a fun review of rabbit’s new trail line (this wasn’t sponsored but I wanted to share).  I got to try some new lounge style outfits from Tasc Performance. PS the crop is absolutely incredible!!  I tried out some of Coola’s new SPF skincare products.  I shared more about how much I love Sunbeam‘s GoHeat™ Cordless Heating Pad .  I’ll be sharing a new product in May!!  I partnered with AllTrails to share the Rumpl National Parks Collection of blankets & the Leave No Trace shirts that they created with The Landmark Project.  I have an AllTrails giveaway coming up in May so get ready!  And we kicked off the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Runner’s Month this week!  I’m super excited about this challenge and look forward to sharing with you all.

I also got to work on a super cool product that I can’t quite share yet but I can’t wait to show you guys!

I shared the thoughts of others & then myself regarding race swag.

Oh and I almost forgot but we did a Road Trip to Joshua Tree National Park & celebrated National Parks Week there!  This was my first time to Joshua Tree and while it’s a beautiful park & so different from what I was expecting, the attractions were all super short & it was somewhat crowded which mean that we didn’t get to go to all the spots we wanted to see.  We did check another National Park off our list though.

Wow!! Going through all this, I’m like WOW – April was busy!!